WordPress, a content management system that exploded in popularity during the early 2000s blogging era, is built on simplicity and an incredible library of themes and plug-ins that expand a site’s functionality. In fact, WordPress is so beloved that it powers more than 40 percent of all websites, ranging from thousands of personal blogs to The New Yorker, PlayStation Blog, and Rolling Stone. If you don’t know a lot of code, WordPress is one of the best ways to spin up a website.
How to Get WordPress Hosting
Most web hosts offer some form of WordPress-specific service, typically in an optimized environment. With a server optimized for WordPress, the CMS comes preinstalled, so you don’t have to download and set up a WordPress installation as you’d do when using a traditional web hosting environment. You should contact a web host’s customer support team to learn the specifics of its WordPress hosting offering.
Please note that we’re speaking here of the WordPress.org CMS that acts as the foundation for your website, not WordPress.com. The latter CMS has more in common with website builders than traditional website hosting. In effect, WordPress.com is a turnkey (and more limited) WordPress solution, whereas the services in this roundup offer a vastly more flexible (and labor-intensive) DIY approach.
Managed vs. Unmanaged WordPress Hosting
While researching the WordPress hosting tier that best fits the vision for your site, you’ll likely see an option to select either managed WordPress hosting or unmanaged (aka self-hosted) WordPress hosting. That choice is an important one, as the two options offer radically different server maintenance experiences.
With managed WordPress hosting, your site lives on a server that’s tuned to work with WordPress. You’ll enjoy WordPress-specific security, automatic site backups, malware scanning and removal, and other benefits without lifting a finger. Your web host’s server team will do the work for you. The downside? Managed WordPress hosting typically limits some of the plug-ins that you can install to make sure your site operates in tip-top fashion.
With unmanaged WordPress hosting, your site lives on a server that typically features just the Linux or Windows operating system. This hosting type requires you (or an IT person) to set up everything yourself, including the aforementioned features you get with managed WordPress hosting. You’d go this route if, say, there’s specific, custom software that needs installation. Alternatively, you may just like getting your hands dirty. You’ll typically save a few bucks going the self-hosted route, too, because you’re not paying a web host a server maintenance fee.